Join Laurie Burruss for an in-depth discussion in this video Defining a website, part of Creating a CSS Style Guide: Hands-On Training.
If you are going to do anything in Dreamweaver, you want to setup and define your site. Doing this ensures that Dreamweaver manages, supports, file checks, validates, does all kinds of things for you to make sure that your website is working correctly and that you are managing your files properly. So let's go up to Site > New Site. When the Site Definition dialog box opens, it will default to the Basic tab. Although Basic sounds like it would be the easy way to go, it's actually much faster and simpler to set up your Site Definition in the Advanced tab. So let's click on Advanced.
The first thing we want to do is name our site and we want to give it a meaningful name. We have already set up our file structure in one file folder with subsets of folders, and we know that our project is going to create a style guide so let's name it Style_ Guide. So that's part one, giving it a meaningful name. The second thing you need to do is define where that site is going to be located, what folder structure you are going to be using. It's not obvious, but this little folder icon is the important thing to see. Let's click on that.
Once we click on the folder, it takes us out to our Desktop or to our main hard drive area, and we want to navigate to our folder. Our folder is on the Desktop. Notice, I have already clicked on the Desktop. Then let's click on our folder structure, which is style_guide_lb. When the name of your folder appears at the top of the directory system you are set and ready to go. If you are working on Windows, this button will say Select, but in the Macintosh, it says Choose, go ahead and click on Choose.
These are the only two things you need to do. Please leave two items just as they are. This is the way they default. Keep your links relative to the document, and be sure that you have enabled your cache. Once you have done these two things and left your default buttons clicked on, go ahead and click OK. As soon as you do that, you will notice that down in your Files panel, in the bottom right, your site now appears with the name that you gave it. This is a name just for you and for Dreamweaver to recognize. It's not the name that you have on your folder. It's the name that you and Dreamweaver have decided to call that site.
In the Local Files you will see that our file structure appears just as the way we set it up. We have our main folder with our subset of folders and one HTML document inside of it. If for some reason you make a mistake setting this up or don't indicate the right folder, all you need to do is just double click on this and your Site Definition dialog box will open again and you get a second chance to make any changes that you need to make, especially if you end up changing the location of your folder. Go ahead and click Cancel. We have entered all the information correctly.
Let's click on the Style_Guide one more time. Another feature of the Files panel is that it actually lets you access your own computer. So if you are doing anything inside of Dreamweaver, be sure not to keep going in and out of Dreamweaver but try to access it from inside of Dreamweaver. So if I go out to the Hard Drive, notice I can see everything that I have on my computer and I can access any file that I need, whether its an image or a text document or whatever, because remember, the point of setting up the Site Definition is to make Dreamweaver in charge of managing our site and making sure that all the links, all the files are correctly being managed and in the right location.
Let's click on that dropdown menu again, and if you want to delete a site, you can go to Manage Sites. You can click on that style and you can duplicate, remove, do all kinds of things. We are not going to do anything right now, we have just set ours up the way we like it. So let's click on the Done button. So this is how the Site Definition works. Remember it's an important thing to do. It's the most important thing you can do to make sure that your site works well, and that you get all the support and all the help that Dreamweaver can offer.
Download the exercise files from the Exercise Files tab.
- Planning a site from a blank file
- Creating and editing a style guide with just HTML
- Using the Property Inspector for text markup
- Inserting images, tables, and footers for a custom look
- Creating and editing an external CSS style sheet
- Building a custom color palette for a site
- Testing web pages in various browsers
- Styling tips for professional sites